STILLWATER, Minn. - Supporters of Afton native Jessie Diggins gathered early Saturday morning in hopes of seeing one of their own win an Olympic medal.
While that didn't happen for Diggins, family and friends say they are still very proud of Jessie.
"I remember skiing with her in 9th grade when she had a goal to make the Olympic team," said coach Kris Hansen. "I said 'Let's make a goal not to make the team but to earn a medal at the Olympics.' She had been thinking about this moment for a long time."
Diggins anchored the U.S. women's 4x5-kilometer relay, the team's strongest event, but the U.S. could only manage 9th place.
That finish didn't discourage those who came out to the Chilkoot Cafe in Stillwater. More than 60 people watched the live stream of the event at 4 a.m. CT.
"I have been looking forward to this relay for a long time," Diggins said in an email earlier this week. "I have gone over every possible race scenario in my mind while visualizing the race. I know that there are some high hopes and big expectations coming into this but all I can possibly give is everything that I have, and I will go ski my heart out."
"It was exciting to see. A little disappointing. Jessie is disappointed, but we are just so proud of her," Hansen said. "It is OK."
Hannah Brown says that Diggins is an inspiration.
"I am going to try to make varsity and be like Jessie - just aspire to do my best always and make people proud," Brown said.
In a blog, posted after the race, Jessie thanked all those who were at the watch party. She says their love makes all the difference in the world.
Diggins has one more Olympic race -- the 30-kilometer mass start next Saturday.